I went down to Early Years this morning, hoping to pop in to some classrooms and learn about how language is taught and learned with those tiny kids! They were having their break when I first arrived, so I sat down and caught up on a few emails. Twenty minutes later, they were still at break.
“Hmm… they do have a long break don’t they?” I thought to myself and started to head off to another year group.
Luckily, though, I overheard a conversation that was going on between three girls in the little house by the front of EY. They were pretending to bake a cake and were discussing the ingredients of a cake, the process of how to bake a cake and the workings of an oven. They were also negotiating turns at doing each task and giving each other instructions to pass on their skills!
The time that these kids have to play gives them time to immerse themselves into their games and to set up scenarios that call for all sorts of communication and social skills to be used.
Another group of kids had set up the giant bowling pins and were being taught how to throw the bowling ball by one particularly confident boy. He had also organised a system for putting the pins upright again and collecting the bowling balls for the next person.
All around me were little social situations in which the kids were developing and applying social and communication skills. Language in its purest form.
But, what of the teachers? What about assessment? Is it really learning if the teachers aren’t teaching?
Well, the teachers on duty were watching, observing and guiding the students when situations arose that the students needed guidance or extension in. That is teaching, isn’t it?
Then, just before I left, I came across something very exciting. Four girls sitting together and sharing a book. Four girls who now, as Bonnie Campbell-Hill’s continuums put it, “see themselves as readers”.
Conceptual understandings from IB Language Arts Scope and Sequence Document
Speaking and Listening:
Viewing and Presenting: